Those were the words of Chaka Fattah Jr. in a conversation secretly recorded by his former roommate turned government witness, played for the jury by federal prosecutors during closing arguments in Fattah’s fraud trial Tuesday.
“If somebody can prove I did something wrong, bring it — and we’ll fight that!” Fattah can be heard saying in the recording.
But Fattah Jr.’s fight is over for now, and his fate is in the hands of jurors, who are expected to continue deliberating the case Wednesday.
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Federal prosecutors slammed Fattah Jr.’s character as they argued for jurors to find Fattah Jr. guilty of fraud.
“[He had] a framed credit card that he hangs on the wall of his apartment at the Ritz. Who does that?” asked prosecutor Paul Gray, then bringing up Fattah’s unpaid bills at The Capitol Grille.
“What kind of person sticks a restaurant for $15,000 and runs away laughing about it? This kind of person,” he answered, pointing at Fattah Jr. “A cheat.”
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Fattah Jr. is accused of stealing thousands from banks through fraudulent business loans and hundreds of thousands from the School District of Philadelphia through an inflated budget for a charter school.
Fattah remained calm as he gave his closing argument, claiming that prosecutors did not understand how business and taxes work.
“When they say false, that just means they disagree,” Fattah Jr. said at one point.
He argued that he was legally entitled to funds he spent.
“When you’re in a business, after your expenses, the money that’s left over goes to you. Everybody knows that,” he said.
“The government’s just upset. They don’t like my lifestyle. ‘He was at a restaurant and he ate at places I can’t afford,'” he mimicked.
But Gray countered that Fattah’s entire closing argument was a “senseless diatribe” and denied any interest in Fattah’s “stupid lifestyle and Armani suits and Hermes ties.”
“Nobody cares what he wore,” Gray said.
Fattah’s father, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr., who is also indicted on federal fraud charges, sat in the front row during the trial.
“I have complete faith in our jury system. I trust they’ll make a fair decision,” he said after closings ended.
Fattah Jr. said he felt positive about his case outside of court after the closings ended and that representing himself was the best decision he ever made.
“I’m not a scam artist, I’m a legitimate businessman,” Fattah said of prosecutors’ allegations.
As for prosecutor Gray, Fattah Jr. said simply, “He’s an idiot. Period.”